Monsoon Project

Activity Report

13.03.2021. 4th Workshop held online.

Experts from the fields of History of Accountancy, Oriental History, Japanese History, The History of Political Thought, and Dutch History gathered to work on “historical materials written in Dutch language”. There were many passionate presentations.

Line-up as follows:
Takehisa Hashimoto: “Research in Accounting history and 17th century Netherlands:
   Simon Stevin, Huis Oranje-Nassau and VOC”
Aki Tomita: “West Borneo Society and Monarchy in the 18th century: The Coastal State
Isabel Tanaka-van Daalen: “Interpreting the Dutch Language Ability of the Japanese
   Interpreters of Dutch”
Takeharu Okubo: “The Concept of Freedom and Napoleon in Tokugawa Japan: an Essay
   on Global Intellectual History”
Genji Yasuhira: “Dutch Reformed Discourses on ‘Idolatry’ : Catholicism and Japanese Buddhism in the Writing of Johannes Hoornbeeck (1617-1666)”

(Participant’s notes)
This 4th workshop consisted of presentations on the History of Accounting, Japan-Dutch Relations, Political Thought and Religion.
In the morning, presentations were given on (1) the Characteristics of the Accounting System in the 17th Century Netherlands and the Overseas VOC Trading Houses; (2) The Formation of the Coastal State Pontianak in the 18th Century Borneo in relation to Monarchy/Authority.
In the afternoon we had presentations on (3) the Peculiarities and Developments of the Language Abilities of the Japanese Interpreters of Dutch as seen in the Historical Materials related to Dejima; (4) the Knowledge about Napoleon and the Acceptance of the Concept of “Vrijheid (Freedom)” at the End of the Shogunate and the underlying Western Political Thoughts; (5) Discourses on Japanese ‘Idolatry’ in the Writing of a Dutch Reformed Theologian and the Characteristics of his Descriptions Concerning the History of the Jesuit Mission.

The workshop served as an opportunity to share the progress and latest research outcomes in these fields.
The presentations covered a wide timeline and a broad range of different areas.
Personally, I was impressed by the way the Protestants described and evaluated the Society of Jesus’s Jesuit Mission in Japan which was introduced in presentation (5), because it is related to the subject of my own research (History of Society of Jesus’s Jesuit Mission in Asia in the 17th Century) and is a very interesting phenomenon in the context of the research of Information history.
In the Q&A session, we had discussions from the point of comparative literature. As it is described in the Purpose of the Monsoon Project, this workshop offered a space where “Experts in different fields discuss shared themes stimulatingly”. Further exchange of information including the situation of overseas investigation and research during the coronavirus pandemic was done in an online get-together after the workshop. It was as fruitful as the workshop itself.
I have participated in 3 workshops as an observer since the 1st workshop and in each workshop, I became more convinced of the significance and possibilities of cross-region cooperative research based on Eastern and Western materials in various languages as well as a multidimensional approach. At the same time, I could find insights and new clues to develop my own research interests.

(Written by: Susumu Akune)

17.10.2020. We had Monsoon Project’s 3rd workshop online in collaboration with the Research Presentation Association of the Historiographical Institute, the University of Tokyo. It consisted of the following report.

Norifumi Daito: “VOC and Diplomacy - Contractboeken owned by the Dutch National Archives”

19.09.2020. Online review of Introductory books. We got feedback of Matsukata’s Work-in-Progress and samples from co-writers.


12.09.2020. 2nd online workshop

Line-up as follows:
Katsunori Kure: “Overseas Chinese and the Sultanate of Mataram in Northern Java in the
17th Century - 1630-1680”
Hiroyuki Mashita: “A New Portuguese Document about the Mughal Empire: The Record
   of the 3rd Jesuit Mission of the Society of Jesus during Jahangir’s Reign (1605-1627)”
Ruriko Sawamura: “Tondo and overseas Chinese in the 16-17th Century”
Joji Nozawa: “Food Procurement and Distribution in VOC: Current Progress and Problem”
Takao Kawanishi: “Research of the “Holy Chalice” in Japan based on the 2nd Manuscript
   of the“Relación del Reino de Nippon a que llaman corruptamente Jappon”;
   by Avila Girón (-1619): The Perspective of the Envoys to Europe in the
   “Temmon”, Tensei, Keicho and “Reiwa” Eras“

06-07.03.2020. Expected 2nd Workshop was cancelled due to the spread of Coronavirus Disease.

16-23.03.2020. The Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference was cancelled due to Coronavirus infection.

(Takeharu Okubo, Norifumi Daito and Fuyuko Matsukata were expected to visit Boston, USA for the panel report of “Trading Papers: New Insights on Early Modern Diplomatic Documents & Practices in Coastal Asia” at the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, together with Messrs. Yasunori Kasai, Robert Hellyer and Joshua Batts)
I would like to thank everyone concerned for cooperation.

06.03.2020. We held a preparatorial meeting for the AAS (presentation by: Norifumi Daito “VOC and Diplomacy - Contractboeken owned by the Dutch National Archive-”)

23.02.-01.03.2020. Norufumi Daito travelled to the Netherlands to investigate the Contractboeken (part of VOC archives) at National Archives in Den Haag, as well as giving the presentation ‘Managing Diplomacy: VOC Agreements as Seen through the Company’s “Contract-books”’ at the Colonial and Global History Seminar of Leiden University. He received some very valuable comments from Dutch researchers. He also conducted academical exchange with Mssrs. Leonard Blussé, Jos Gommans, Alicia Schrikker and Lennart Bes.

ライデン大学 Colonial and Global History Seminar

27.12.2019. Mihoko Oka, Joji Nozawa, Hiroyuki Mashita and Akinori Nakasuna held a debate on Southern European Literal Materials at the Faculty of Literature, Kyoto University.

19.12.2019.-06.01.2020. Takao Kasai visited Italy, Spain and Portugal to study historical documents at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, the National Central Library of Rome, the National Central Library of Florence, El Monasterio de El Escorial Library, the National Library of Spain, the Torre do Tombo National Archive, the National Library of Portugal etc. He also researched the historical sites related to the Tensho/Keicho Embassy and the Legend of the Holy Grail.

The Torre do Tombo National Archive
↑The Torre do Tombo National Archive

El Monasterio de El Escorial Library
↑El Monasterio de El Escorial Library

13.-20.11.2019. Fuyuko Matsukata and Takane Mizukata visited the Netherlands to study the Nederlandse Factorij Canton and Documents of the Ministry of Colonies at the National Central Archives in De Haag. They also visited the Royal Library of the Netherlands next to the National Central Archive, the Navy Museum in Den Helder and the Rijksmuseum (the National Museum) in Amsterdam, and interacted with various researchers specializing in Japan or Asia at Leiden University.

This trip was made possible within the framework “Profiling Leiden Japan Sources in the Global History field: From Bipolar to Multipolar Research”, a research project funded by the Isaac Alfredo Ailion Foundation.
We would like to thank Prof. Kiri Paramore of the National University of Ireland and University College Cork, the representative of this research.

We had the opportunity to see an exhibition on Suriname at New Church (Nieuwe Kerk). The Republic of Suriname is not well known in Japan, but it seems that exhibitions focused on Suriname, which was a former Dutch colony, are rare in the Netherlands as well.

We also witnessed Sinterklaas (St. Nicolas) arriving at the city of Leiden.
↑We also witnessed Sinterklaas (St. Nicolas) arriving at the city of Leiden.

According to custom, Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands by boat from “Spain” in mid-November every year and goes back to Spain on 06.12. On the evening of the 5th of December he gives presents to the children. It is said that Santa Claus (he is called “de Kerstman”, uncle Christmas) was derived from Sinterklaas when he arrived in America together with the Dutch immigrants. In recent years a huge national debate, polarizing the whole nation, has occurred in the Netherlands centering on Sinterklaas’s companion Zwarte Piet (Black Piet). For that reason, the Piets’ faces were only “stained with soot (because they came out of the chimney)” that year.

(Written by Fuyuko Matsukata)

We also collected images of the historical documents of Contract boeken (1.04.02 nos. 4777-4784, 11193-11196) owned by the National Central Archive of the Netherlands, as well as the Ordonnantie van Batavia (Special Collections (KL) 1365 F 24) owned by the Library of Leiden University.

19.-20.04.2019. 1st Workshop at the main conference room of the Historiographical Institute, the University of Tokyo.

Introduction of the Library and Study Room/Explanation of the Purpose/Self introduction
Katsunori Kure: “The Zhèng Clan of Taiwan and South-east Asia -: The Last Vital Artery
   of the Zhèng Clan”
Norifumi Daito: “Another Global History as told by Sugar: The Sugar Trade in the 18th
   Century Persian Gulf”

We reaffirmed that revealing the movements of Asian actors by using European documents is the basis for current research, but also a problem to be overcome.

08.-14.04.2019. Norifumi Daito visited the Netherlands and studied Contract boeken in VOC documents at the National Central Archive.